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Whether it’s our families, work or a mountain of other things, many of us are finding plenty to worry about in the current crisis with sleep being a big struggle for many.
However much we try not to, the concerns and problems can mount up, leading to stress which then means too many of us are missing out on a good night’s kip – and none of that is good for us.
So we asked Merseyside therapist Russell Hoyles for a few tips and help on how we can help get a decent sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to face whatever the day has waiting…
Anxiety, stress, a sense of no control, and fear are not great for a good night’s sleep and the coronavirus pandemic is serving these feelings up big time.
It’s a strange and surreal world we are living in.
For many the lack of freedom and social interaction, the restriction on pleasurable pursuits, and the constant newsfeed around the pandemic is a wholly unpleasant and stressful experience.
Stress is experienced by a whole range of people from the ‘Key Worker’ nurse on the Covid-19 ward to the parents in lockdown with young children. We are all, it’s probably fair to say, experiencing stress in one form or another as a result of coronavirus.
Often it’s the sense of a lack of control and uncertainty regarding our future, and indeed the present, that is stressful and which leads to feelings of anxiety, panic, and fear, which impact our mood.
In the longer-term, experiencing life this way can lead to exhaustion and burnout characterised by hopelessness, emotional blunting and disengagement, low motivation, depression, and for some a feeling that life is not worth living.
Well the advice I give is to make a decision to take care of your ‘self’ by impacting those areas of your life that ARE within YOUR control, such as not immersing yourself in the constant newsfeed and setting daily routines for getting up, dressing, eating times and exercising etc.
Most of all look after your mental and physical wellbeing by nurturing your creative side by way of hobbies, arts, and interests and by following a healthy diet. Avoiding alcohol will help!
And getting a good night’s sleep is vital.
It’s really important to take care to rest and to have good sleep.
Sleep supports the proteins and cells of your immune system, strengthening it so your body is better placed to detect and fight viral invaders enhancing your ability to respond should you be unfortunate enough to catch coronavirus.
Keep regular sleep hours: Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better.
Create a restful sleeping environment: Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that your bedroom environment helps you to fall (and stay) asleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable
Exercise regularly: make the most of your daily allowance to take a regular walk but don’t do vigorous exercise, such as running, too close to bedtime, as it may keep you awake.
Cut down on caffeine, especially in the evening, and have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea instead.
Do not over-indulge: Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on.
Do not smoke: Nicotine is a stimulant. People who smoke take longer to fall asleep, wake up more frequently, and often have more disrupted sleep.
Try to relax before going to bed: Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax your mind and body.
If you can’t sleep, get up: Don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then go back to bed.
Follow this guidance and listen to the audio prepared for you below.
Take charge, be empowered rather than passive, and stay healthy and safe.
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